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"I’ve Never Been So Ashamed To Be an American." Really?


#1

"I’ve Never Been So Ashamed To Be an American." Really?

Christian Christensen

"I’ve never been so ashamed to be an American."

We have heard that a lot since the election of Donald Trump. We have heard many Americans express their disappointment and outrage over where our country is going. Over how humanity and the rule of law have quickly given ground to the evils of ethno-nationalism and authoritarianism. Over how respect for human life has been replaced by a callous indifference to, and even pleasure taken from, the suffering of others.


#2

Where was our national shame when thousands of black bodies were forced into bondage, which continues on many levels today?

Where was our shame over the near genocide of the First Nations, and the oppression the US continues to visit upon them?

Thanks for raising the question. In a moral society, one would think it is most relevant. This didn't start with Bush, it started a long time ago with rich white property owners.


#3

All true, and @lobo4justice's too. But we can deal only with the situation in hand now. Being ashamed of now doesn't preclude being ashamed of then. But shame doesn't fix things, and that's what we must be about.


#4

It's funny that Americans now think that they are being looked at differently by the rest of the world. Yes, Trump's presidency is a national disgrace, but let me clue you in on a little secret: the world has long looked on the USA with aghast, lamenting its violence, its inequality, its institutional racism, its reprehensible health care system, its rampant consumerism and pollution, and yes, its foreign policy.

America is equal parts admired and pitied -- admired for many of the great contributions it makes to culture, innovation, technology, etc., but simultaneously looked down upon for the way it treats its own people. No other advanced democracy in the world would tolerate the things that Americans put up with, like income inequality, long work weeks, expensive education, no maternity leave, and I might add, the total lack of pluralism in America's so-called elections.

Just as Americans put up with getting screwed over by their corporate overlords, they also put up with a thoroughly undemocratic political system bought and paid for by Wall Street and the military industrial complex. I mean, two parties? Give me a break. Most democracies have numerous parties to choose from and no one blames you for "spoiling" the election if you vote your conscience.

The USA is so messed up, Trump is just the icing on the cake. He just confirms all the worst assumptions about our decaying democracy.


#5

Our shame lies in our (Trump) seeking to return to a time when we had little shame but much to be ashamed of. We go backwards and it shocks us to do so but the 'Return of the Ugly American' is hardly all that surprising.

The main difference between now and then is that we never really noticed the 'Ugly American' that was spreading corporations to third world nations in a glut of imperialistic glory and greed. Back then it was only us and the Russkies were such lousy capitalists nobody wanted to buy their cars and so forth.

Made in Japan has become Made in China and looks to stay there. Whoa Nellie! What happened?

When did our being 'ugly' begin to look so bad?
Maybe this time we are just more willing to look in the mirror?

Trump wants to make America 'ugly' again.


#6

So true. But alas, not so obvious to the ordinary person in the US - who lives under an extreme financial exploitation from birth to death. While, not undermining the importance of the airport protests or court victories for the symbolic issue at hand, can't help but notice the asymmetry with the lack of similar approaches for the ~100 people per day that are killed by police (the state), regularly and consistently throughout years and administrations.


#7

I need to ask for some source for that figure.


#8

Muslim faces have been used for the bad guys in Hollywood for many decades.
And the practice of demonizing Muslims goes clear back to the Crusades and before that.

Demonizing the other is a very useful way to take the public's mind off other issues with faulty government.


#9

And a way to take other people's homeland.


#10

Shame over what? American values? The concept of American values is part of the same national propaganda machine that includes American exceptionalism, land of the free, defenders of liberty and all the other patriotic flag waving that has traditionally been used by the power elite in this country to destroy who or what gets in its way. Trump is just an uglier face on what's always been there.

Anyone who is only now feeling shame, thanks to Trump, needs to rethink what it means to be a patriot. A good place to start is a committment to stand up for all people, 24/7, from this day forward, regardless of borders, religion, politics and, especially, who is in the White House. This country needs more patriots for humanity; we have too many of the other types.


#11

A young author will soul and integrity, telling it like it is. Remember that awful movie American Sniper? It was the culmination of stereotyping and the glorification of a vile creep motivated by racism and utter contempt for the lives and rights of Muslims. I think it was then that I figured we were a lost country, that the movie raked in so much money and so few--if any--denounced it .


#12

Patriotism is the polar opposite of the inclusiveness you propose, I think, since it is based on the concept of the validity of imaginary borders separating "us" from "them" and legitimizing loyalty to an imaginary community? Just a thought. I like your post, not criticizing.


#13

I grew up a few years after World War 2 ended. The 50's were a strange time to be a child. My parents taught my brother and I to respect everybody, and I thank them for that lesson. My folks also taught us to work hard and play by the rules.

Watching others who missed those lessons in their childhoods as I grew, made me realize there would always be those who wouldn't play well with others.

America is getting their wake up call right now, and we are seeing first hand what happens when you elevate to the highest offices in the land, Congress and the Presidency, those who do not know, or care about, right from wrong.

I can understand 'Discontent' amongst my fellow Americans, but what I cannot and will never accept or understand, is 'Hate'. The two political parties that have dominated our country's government for the last 217 years, have allowed 'Hate' to be a part of their respective platforms, even though they use other words to mask it. Yet, we, like 'The Swallows of San Juan Capistrano', fly to the polls every election day and pull the levers for politicians of these two political parties.

I am proud to be an American, but I am ashamed that the large majority of my fellow Americans keep voting election after election, for Hate, Corruption, Death, and Human Suffering. There was a party on the ballot in November that was very clear about who they were and what they were willing to work towards and achieve. Their mission as our President and Vice-president, was to put all People, our Planet, and worldwide Peace, over Profit. Their names are Dr.Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka. They believed in all of us even if all of us didn't believe in them.


#14

The USA is not the only country being overrun (or have been) by the evils described in the piece: Russia, Hungary, the UK, Turkey, Poland, & Slovakia have also succumbed, plus France, the Netherlands, Finland, & Austria, to name a few, are also on the list. The Conservative Infotainment Complex has gone worldwide and is doing its' voodoo quite effectively.


#15

That is quite an exaggeration. The Bureau of Justice Statistics has two relevant databases. One is the "Arrest-Related Deaths Program" That shows in the neighborhood of 700 deaths per year - but such deaths are believed to be underreported (it is probably on the order of double that according to fivethirtyeight.com). A second database is the "Deaths in Custody Reporting Program" that shows about 4500 deaths per year - and that is believed to have excellent coverage. Whether you count an inmate who dies from illness or "suicide" in prison as "killed by the police" or not - the total doesn't come to more than 15-20 per day nationwide.

Of course, the key point here is that even 1 per day would be way too many.


#16

Bingo! And there you have it! Reality! Truth!


#17

Mr. Christensen focused on the way US foreign policy and militarism has always been horrible for peoples around the world, and I fully agree with him about that. But my own personal contempt and rage (not "shame") toward the USAn citizens around me is a reflection of the fact that public attitudes have indeed gotten much, much worse, both in their support for foreign military interventions against bogeymen "threats" and widespread callousness toward poverty and open hatred of the public solutions for it such as welfare and unions. This is obvious from just a cursory comparison of popular music, literature and cultural memes between the 1970s and now.

Sure, these attitudes had their start way back in the mid-late 1970s as Carter so eloquently observed in his media-derided "Crisis of Confidence" speech. But nonetheless, Trump represents a crowning victory for the callousness in USAn culture that has been on the rise for for some time now..


#18

I, too, grew up in the Fifties, and I understand perfectly what you are saying. I agree! Eisenhower was what Republicans looked like
before their Party was taken over by the right-wing crazies and religious zealots. Edward R. Murrow was a real journalist. CEO's made
about 40 times what their workers did, not 400+ times! There were indeed problems, but there seemed to be more willingness to solve
them, or at least discuss/debate them.

Now we have a Con Man Extraordinaire in the White House, and a congress full of greedheads and Jesus Freaks.


#19

Your are right. It's looking like 1930's again, in many ways.


#20

Inclusiveness is a good way to describe it, yes. To that end, the concept of exceptionalism - that we are better than other people - is the first thing that needs to disappear. It's the very foundation for the psychology of war and has been used to convince others to take up arms against others as long as there have been wars.